The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

A visit to Mrs. Manson Mingott was always anamusing episode to the young man. The house in itselfwas already an historic document, though not, of course,as venerable as certain other old family houses inUniversity Place and lower Fifth Avenue. Those were ofthe purest 1830, with a grim harmony of cabbage-rose-garlanded carpets, rosewood consoles, round-archedfire-places with black marble mantels, and immenseglazed book-cases of mahogany; whereas old Mrs.Mingott, who had built her house later, had bodily castout the massive furniture of her prime, and mingledwith the Mingott heirlooms the frivolous upholstery ofthe Second Empire. It was her habit to sit in a windowof her sitting-room on the ground floor, as if watchingcalmly for life and fashion to flow northward to hersolitary doors. She seemed in no hurry to have themcome, for her patience was equalled by her confidence.She was sure that presently the hoardings, the quarries,the one-story saloons, the wooden green-houses in raggedgardens, and the rocks from which goats surveyedthe scene, would vanish before the advance of residencesas stately as her own--perhaps (for she was animpartial woman) even statelier; and that the cobble-stones over which the old clattering omnibuses bumpedwould be replaced by smooth asphalt, such as peoplereported having seen in Paris. Meanwhile, as every oneshe cared to see came to HER (and she could fill herrooms as easily as the Beauforts, and without adding asingle item to the menu of her suppers), she did notsuffer from her geographic isolation.

拜访曼森·明戈特太太永远是年轻人的一件乐事。那房子本身就是一个历史的见证,尽管它自然不会像大学区与第五大街南部某些住宅那样令人肃然起敬。那些住宅清一色是1830年建的,里面那些百叶蔷该图案的地毯、黄檀木的蜗形支腿桌案、黑大理石面饰的圆拱形壁炉,还有锃亮的红木大书橱,显得既古板又协调。而明戈特老太太的住宅建得晚一些,她悉数摈弃了年轻时代那些笨重的家具,将第二帝国轻浮的室内装饰品与明戈特的传家宝熔为一炉。她坐在一楼客厅的窗户后面,仿佛是在安详地等候着社交活动与时尚的潮流滚滚北上,流向她冷落的门坎。她看起来并不急于让它们来到,因为她的耐心与她的信心不相上下。她深信那些囤积物与猎获物,那些单层的厅房、荒芜花园里的木制暖房以及山羊登临的石基,不久就会随着新住宅的推进而提前消逝,而那些新的宅邸将跟她的家一样富丽堂皇——或许(她是个不带偏见的女人)比她的更为壮观。而且,那些老式公共马车卡嗒卡嗒颠簸于其上的卵石路也将被平滑的柏油路面取代,就像人们传闻在巴黎见过的那样。同时,由于她乐于接见的人全都过来看她(她能像博福特夫妇那样,轻而易举把她家的客厅塞满,而且无须往晚餐菜单里加一道菜),她也并不因为住处偏僻而受与世隔绝之苦。

The immense accretion of flesh which had descendedon her in middle life like a flood of lava on a doomedcity had changed her from a plump active little womanwith a neatly-turned foot and ankle into something asvast and august as a natural phenomenon. She hadaccepted this submergence as philosophically as all herother trials, and now, in extreme old age, was rewardedby presenting to her mirror an almost unwrinkledexpanse of firm pink and white flesh, in thecentre of which the traces of a small face survived as ifawaiting excavation. A flight of smooth double chins leddown to the dizzy depths of a still-snowy bosom veiledin snowy muslins that were held in place by a miniatureportrait of the late Mr. Mingott; and around and below,wave after wave of black silk surged away over the edgesof a capacious armchair, with two tiny white hands poisedlike gulls on the surface of the billows.

脂肪的激增在她中年时期突然降临,就像火山熔岩降临一个行将覆没的城市那样凶猛,使她由一位丰满好动、步伐灵活的小巧女人变成如自然奇观般的庞然大物。她像对待其他一切磨难一样达观地接受了这一大灾大难。如今,她在耄耋之年终于得到了报偿:镜子里的她,是一堆几乎没有皱纹的白里透红的结实肌肤,在其中央,一张小小的面孔形迹犹存,仿佛在等待着挖掘;光溜溜的双下巴下方,是掩映在雪白的麦斯林纱底下令人眩目的雪白的胸膛,一枚已故明戈特先生的微形像章固定其间;四周及以下部位,一波接一波的黑丝绸在大扶手椅的边棱上流泻而下,两只雪白的小手摆在那里犹如海面上的两只海鸥。

The burden of Mrs. Manson Mingott's flesh hadlong since made it impossible for her to go up anddown stairs, and with characteristic independence shehad made her reception rooms upstairs and establishedherself (in flagrant violation of all the New Yorkproprieties) on the ground floor of her house; so that, asyou sat in her sitting-room window with her, you caught(through a door that was always open, and a looped-back yellow damask portiere) the unexpected vista of abedroom with a huge low bed upholstered like a sofa,and a toilet-table with frivolous lace flounces and agilt-framed mirror.

曼森·明戈特太太脂肪的负担早已使她无法上下楼梯,她以特有的独立精神将客厅设在楼上,并且(公然违背纽约的所有行为规范)在住宅的一楼居住;因此,与她一起坐在起居室的窗口,就能意外地(透过始终开着的门和卷起的打环黄锦缎门帘)看到卧室。里面有一张装饰得像沙发一样的特大矮床,一张梳妆台,上面摆着花哨的丝带荷叶边,还有一面镀金框架的镜子。

Her visitors were startled and fascinated by theforeignness of this arrangement, which recalled scenes inFrench fiction, and architectural incentives to immoralitysuch as the simple American had never dreamed of.That was how women with lovers lived in the wickedold societies, in apartments with all the rooms on onefloor, and all the indecent propinquities that theirnovels described. It amused Newland Archer (who hadsecretly situated the love-scenes of "Monsieur deCamors" in Mrs. Mingott's bedroom) to picture herblameless life led in the stage-setting of adultery; but hesaid to himself, with considerable admiration, that if alover had been what she wanted, the intrepid womanwould have had him too.

客人们对这种布置的异国情调既惊讶又为之倾倒。它使人想起法国小说中的那些场景,以及单纯的美国人做梦也不会想到的那些伤风败俗行径的建筑学诱因。在旧时不道德的上流社会里,那些偷情的女人其住所都是如此。在她们居住的公寓里,所有的房间都在同一层,从而可以使她们能像小说中描写的那样轻而易举地暗度陈仓。想象她在通奸的舞台背景中过着白壁无瑕的生活,纽兰·阿切尔(他暗中把《卡莫斯先生》中的爱情场面确定在明戈特太太的卧室里)觉得颇为有趣,但与此同时,他又在心里津津有味地想道:假如有个情人符合她的要求,这位刚毅的女人一定也会投入他的怀抱。

To the general relief the Countess Olenska was notpresent in her grandmother's drawing-room during thevisit of the betrothed couple. Mrs. Mingott said shehad gone out; which, on a day of such glaring sunlight,and at the "shopping hour," seemed in itself an indelicatething for a compromised woman to do. But at anyrate it spared them the embarrassment of her presence,and the faint shadow that her unhappy past mightseem to shed on their radiant future. The visit went offsuccessfully, as was to have been expected. Old Mrs.Mingott was delighted with the engagement, which,being long foreseen by watchful relatives, had beencarefully passed upon in family council; and theengagement ring, a large thick sapphire set in invisibleclaws, met with her unqualified admiration.

令大家都感到宽慰的是,在这对订婚青年造访时,奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人并不在她祖母的客厅里。明戈特太太说她外出了。在这样一个阳光明媚的日子,又是在“购物时间”,一个受过创伤的女子外出,本身虽不算得体,但不管怎样,却免去了他俩面对她的窘境,还避免了她不幸的过去可能投到他们光辉前程上的淡淡阴影。正如事前预料的那样,这次拜访进展十分顺利。明戈特老太太对这桩婚事很中意,留心的亲戚们早有预见,并在家族的会议上给予了认可。那枚订婚戒指镶着一块很厚的大蓝宝石,嵌在几个隐形的爪内,得到了她毫无保留的赞赏。

"It's the new setting: of course it shows the stonebeautifully, but it looks a little bare to old-fashionedeyes," Mrs. Welland had explained, with a conciliatoryside-glance at her future son-in-law.

“是新式镶嵌:宝石当然显得十分完美,不过老眼光的人觉得它有点秃,”韦兰太太解释说,一面用眼睛的余光安抚地看着她未来的女婿。

"Old-fashioned eyes? I hope you don't mean mine,my dear? I like all the novelties," said the ancestress,lifting the stone to her small bright orbs, which noglasses had ever disfigured. "Very handsome," she added,returning the jewel; "very liberal. In my time a cameoset in pearls was thought sufficient. But it's the handthat sets off the ring, isn't it, my dear Mr. Archer?"and she waved one of her tiny hands, with small pointednails and rolls of aged fat encircling the wrist like ivorybracelets. "Mine was modelled in Rome by the greatFerrigiani. You should have May's done: no doubt he'llhave it done, my child. Her hand is large--it's thesemodern sports that spread the joints--but the skin iswhite.--And when's the wedding to be?" she broke off,fixing her eyes on Archer's face.

“老眼光?我希望你不是指我吧,亲爱的?我喜欢一切新奇的东西,”老祖母说着,把钻戒举到她那双明亮的小眼睛跟前,她的眼睛从未受过眼镜的损伤。“非常漂亮,”她又说,一面把钻戒还回去,“非常独特。我年轻的时候,用一块彩玉镶在几颗珍珠之间就觉得很好了。不过戒指是靠手来衬托的,对吧,亲爱的阿切尔先生?”她挥动着一只留了尖指甲的小手说,老年肥胖形成的圈圈如象牙手镯一般环绕着她的手腕。“我的戒指是罗马著名的费里加尼设计的。你该找人为梅定做,毫无疑问他会的,我的孩子。她的手很大——现在的这些运动把人的关关节节都变大了——不过皮肤还是很白的。——可婚礼什么时候举行呢?”她收住话头,两眼紧盯着阿切尔的脸。

"Oh--" Mrs. Welland murmured, while the youngman, smiling at his betrothed, replied: "As soon as everit can, if only you'll back me up, Mrs. Mingott."

“哦——”韦兰太太嗫嚅道。年轻人却朝未婚妻露出笑脸,回答说:“越快越好,明戈特太太,只要你肯支持我。”

"We must give them time to get to know each othera little better, mamma," Mrs. Welland interposed, withthe proper affectation of reluctance; to which theancestress rejoined: "Know each other? Fiddlesticks!Everybody in New York has always known everybody.Let the young man have his way, my dear; don't waittill the bubble's off the wine. Marry them before Lent;I may catch pneumonia any winter now, and I want togive the wedding-breakfast."

“妈妈,我们得给他们时问,让他们互相多了解一点,”韦兰太太插言说,同时又恰如其分地装出一副不情愿的样子。老祖母回言道:“互相了解?瞎说!在纽约,谁不了解谁!让年轻人按他自己的方式去办吧,我亲爱的,可别等得美酒走了味。大斋节前就让他们成婚。到了冬天我哪一天都可能染上肺炎,可我还想给他们举办婚礼喜宴呢。”

These successive statements were received with theproper expressions of amusement, incredulity and gratitude;and the visit was breaking up in a vein of mildpleasantry when the door opened to admit the CountessOlenska, who entered in bonnet and mantle followedby the unexpected figure of Julius Beaufort.

对她接二连三的表态,客人相宜作出了喜悦、怀疑、感激的反应。正在这时,门被打开,迎进来了奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人。她戴着帽子和面纱进了屋,身后还跟着个不期而至的朱利叶斯·博福特。温和愉悦的叙谈气氛中断了。

There was a cousinly murmur of pleasure betweenthe ladies, and Mrs. Mingott held out Ferrigiani's modelto the banker. "Ha! Beaufort, this is a rare favour!"(She had an odd foreign way of addressing men bytheir surnames.)

夫人与小姐愉快地说起表姐妹间的悄悄话,明戈特太太则把费里加尼款式的戒指拿给银行家看。“哈!博福特,这可是难得的优待!”(她用奇特的异国方式直呼男士的姓。)

"Thanks. I wish it might happen oftener," said thevisitor in his easy arrogant way. "I'm generally so tieddown; but I met the Countess Ellen in Madison Square,and she was good enough to let me walk home withher."

“多谢多谢,我希望这种事多有几次,”客人妄自尊大地从容说道。“我老是脱不开身;在麦迪逊广场遇上了埃伦伯爵夫人,她十分客气地要我陪她回家。”

"Ah--I hope the house will be gayer, now thatEllen's here!" cried Mrs. Mingott with a gloriouseffrontery. "Sit down--sit down, Beaufort: push up the yellowarmchair; now I've got you I want a good gossip. Ihear your ball was magnificent; and I understand youinvited Mrs. Lemuel Struthers? Well--I've a curiosityto see the woman myself."

“啊——既然埃伦回来了,我希望这个家热闹起来!”明戈特太太毫无顾忌地大声说。“请坐——请坐,博福特:把那把黄扶手椅推过来;既然你来了,咱们就要好好聊一聊。听说你家的舞会叭叭叫,据我所知,你还邀请了勒姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯太太?哎——我倒很想亲自见见那个女人。”

She had forgotten her relatives, who were driftingout into the hall under Ellen Olenska's guidance. OldMrs. Mingott had always professed a great admirationfor Julius Beaufort, and there was a kind of kinship intheir cool domineering way and their short-cuts throughthe conventions. Now she was eagerly curious to knowwhat had decided the Beauforts to invite (for the firsttime) Mrs. Lemuel Struthers, the widow of Struthers'sShoe-polish, who had returned the previous year froma long initiatory sojourn in Europe to lay siege to thetight little citadel of New York. "Of course if you andRegina invite her the thing is settled. Well, we neednew blood and new money--and I hear she's still verygood-looking," the carnivorous old lady declared.

她忘记了自己的亲眷,他们正在埃伦·奥兰斯卡带领下向外面的门厅移动。明戈特老太太一贯显得对朱利叶斯·博福特非常赞赏,他们俩在专横无理及对待传统的删繁就简方面有某种相似之处。此时她急于了解是什么原因促使博福特夫妇下决心(首次)邀请了斯特拉瑟斯的“鞋油”寡妇勒姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯太太。她一年前刚结束在欧洲漫长的启蒙侨居,回来围攻纽约这个坚固的小城堡。“当然,如果你和里吉纳请了她,事情就成定局了。嗯,我们需要新鲜血液和新鲜钱——而且我听说她依然十分漂亮,”这位爱吃肉的老夫人断言说。

In the hall, while Mrs. Welland and May drew ontheir furs, Archer saw that the Countess Olenska waslooking at him with a faintly questioning smile.

门厅里,韦兰太太与梅在穿毛皮外衣的时候,阿切尔见奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人略有疑问地对他微笑着。

"Of course you know already--about May and me,"he said, answering her look with a shy laugh. "Shescolded me for not giving you the news last night at theOpera: I had her orders to tell you that we wereengaged--but I couldn't, in that crowd."

“当然你已经知道了——我和梅的事,”他说,并腼腆地一笑回答她的注视。“她责备我昨晚在歌剧院没把消息告诉你:她曾嘱咐我把我们订婚的事告诉你——但守着那么多人,我未能办到。”

The smile passed from Countess Olenska's eyes toher lips: she looked younger, more like the bold brownEllen Mingott of his boyhood. "Of course I know; yes.And I'm so glad. But one doesn't tell such things first ina crowd." The ladies were on the threshold and sheheld out her hand.

笑容从奥兰斯卡夫人的眼睛传到她的双唇,她看上去更年轻了,更像他孩提时那个大胆的棕发小姑娘埃伦·明戈特。“是的,我当然知道,而且非常高兴。不过这样的事是不会在拥挤的人群中首先宣布的。”另两位女士已经到了门口,她伸出手来。

"Good-bye; come and see me some day," she said,still looking at Archer.

“再见。改日过来看我,”她说,眼睛依然看着阿切尔。

In the carriage, on the way down Fifth Avenue, theytalked pointedly of Mrs. Mingott, of her age, her spirit,and all her wonderful attributes. No one alluded toEllen Olenska; but Archer knew that Mrs. Wellandwas thinking: "It's a mistake for Ellen to be seen, thevery day after her arrival, parading up Fifth Avenue atthe crowded hour with Julius Beaufort--" and the youngman himself mentally added: "And she ought to knowthat a man who's just engaged doesn't spend his timecalling on married women. But I daresay in the setshe's lived in they do--they never do anything else."And, in spite of the cosmopolitan views on which heprided himself, he thanked heaven that he was a NewYorker, and about to ally himself with one of his ownkind.

沿第五大街下行,他们在马车里重点谈论的是明戈特太太:她的年纪,她的精神,以及她那些不可思议的性情。没有人提及埃伦·奥兰斯卡;然而阿切尔知道韦兰太太心里正在想:“埃伦的露面是个错误——就在她刚回来的第二天,在拥挤时刻与朱利叶斯·博福特一起沿第五大街大摇大摆地走——”而年轻人心里补充道:“她还应当知道,一个刚订婚的男人一般是不会花时间去拜访已婚女子的。不过我敢说,在她生活过的那个圈子里,他们一定是那样做的——保准没错。”而且,尽管他自夸了解那些大都市人的观点,却谢天谢地自己是个纽约人,而且就要与他的一位同类联姻。